In a very introspective piece yesterday with Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, our resident basketball hero Chris Bosh talked about his frustrations, how trying the season has been, and setting the bar high.
It was a much needed interview as the Raptors rolled into Dallas for Bosh's annual homecoming.
The Raps and Mavs have always had a weird chemistry when they play each other and games have turned one of two ways in recent years:
In Dallas, Bosh and TJ Ford would get so tensed up that they'd end up trying to do too much in front of their home crowd. By the time they cooled down and regained their composure, the game would be out of reach and the Raptors would find themselves effectively dominated by the Mavs.
Or, the Raptors would find themselves up by 10-20 points at some point in the game, only to give it all up.
In last night's game, the Raptors picked a little from both columns.
Ultimately, their lack of effective defensive rebounding and complacency to shoot from the outside did them in. However, with yet another game where Jose Calderon has looked clearly injured and Shawn Marion looking decidedly green with an illness, the Raptors really had little chance.
It could be argued that this game was a ripe peach for the picking. Chris Bosh kept the Raptors in the game for the first quarter and beyond by settling down after a rough couple of sets to begin the game.
Joey Graham also provided some added help offensively in the second quarter and the Raptors managed to keep up with Dallas and overtake them in the second quarter for the briefest of moments. By aggressively rebounding the ball in traffic, Joey gave the Raptors plenty of second-chance opportunities in his first game back from his minor injury. In fact, the Raptors seems to get just a little spark from their bench in the second quarter, but couldn't ignite that tiny spark into a glowing ember thanks to a lot of lack-luster defense.
By now, everyone in the league knows that the Raptors are horrible at defending the perimeter. So of course, Dallas is going to shoot from the outside. Even with Nowitzki in foul trouble in the third, the Mavs simply did not slow down their pace. With contributions from secondary players such as Brandon Bass, JJ Barea and James Singleton, the Mavs simply kept attacking the Raptors' interior while kicking the ball out to the perimeter once the Raptors' wings collapsed to the middle. At the end of the night, the Mavs made double the 3's while taking only nine more shots than the Raptors. Of course, the Raptors would have taken advantage of the 30% shooting night, but once again, the just couldn't rebound. At all.
It's why Jason Kidd managed to get his 10,000th assist in last night's game. Displaying his natural passing skills, Jason Kidd abused an injured Jose Calderon and an inexperienced Roko Ukic. Easily surpassing the 10,000 mark, the Raptors have yet again become the team that are the recipient of a milestone effort for a living legend in the NBA.
I mean really, AGAIN?
However, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how many boards Jay Triano tears apart with his cold, bare hands. It doesn't matter that we at the HQ are starting to run out of different ways to phrase that this team just doesn't "get after it" and "lacks an identity". It really doesn't matter that the fans are growing so restless that they trying to remake the entire roster on a daily basis in our comments section.
All that matters is that this is loss 38 and that this closes off yet another losing week record for the Toronto Raptors.